Monday, October 2, 2017
A few weeks ago, the office was going to go to Disney World for an office retreat. We had planned the trip down to the smallest detail, except for two "little" problems. The first problem was Hurricane Irma - she hit 4 days before our trip, and we weren't sure that Disney would even be open. The second was that one of us had a sudden health issue that left whether she could go up in the air until 2 days before our departure. Now, there's a reason I'm an advance planner - I don't love flying by the seat of my pants. Yet, here I was, doing just that. I was SUPER stressed. Ultimately, Disney reopened in time and the health issue resolved. The trip was everything I wanted it (and planned in excruciating detail) to be. Except, that I then got sick upon our return. Truth be told, I started to get sick while I was there. In fact, two weeks later, I'm still sick.
Being out of control and having no control are terrible feelings. They cause a lot of stress, which lowers the immunity, which is why I got sick. Let's not mention all the sleepless nights leading up to the trip. Isn't this how my clients feel all the time here in the Trenches? Many have no control over whether their spouse leaves. Many have no control over how much money they will have to live on. Many have no control over what process is used. Many have no control over the outcome of one of the most important events in their lives. Being in the Trenches causes cortisol levels to hit the roof and stay there for months, which is not healthy. All this stress on your immune system is dangerous.
That's why it is so important when you're here in the Trenches to take care of yourself. I know you don't feel like it. In fact, you probably feel like just crawling into bed and pulling the covers over your head, or buying a one way ticket to someplace far away. You could do those things, and in moderation, they're not so bad because they are ways of coping with stress. Of course, staying in bed 24/7 is not something most people really want to do, and buying a one way ticket is also not so realistic for most. What you need is to find something that gives you, if not joy, then pleasure. You need to find something over which you can exert some control and have some sense of accomplishment. That might be walking the dog every day before work, learning a new hobby, joining a club, reading for 15 minutes, putting a piece into a jigsaw puzzle. It doesn't have to be something big; and in fact, accomplishing a lot of little things is probably even better for you. Take some time to take care of yourself. That is something over which you have control. The Trenches itself, maybe not so much. Here in the Trenches.